During his sentencing hearing in Hennepin County court, Anthony West, 44, admitted that he sold heroin on Feb. 24, 2017. But West stopped short of taking responsibility for causing the death of one of the people who injected the drug.
"I'm sorry that Andrew passed away," West said. "But, I didn't have anything to do with that."
West implied that a woman he sold the drugs to, a friend of 27-year-old Andrew Rau, was responsible because she shared the heroin with Rau. According to the criminal complaint, the heroin she bought from West seemed particularly strong. Prosecutors say that's because the heroin was mixed with fentanyl, a potent opioid. Rau was found dead the next day at his home in Edina.
However, Judge Regina Chu placed the blame directly on West.
"You are responsible for his death," she said. "There's no getting around that."
With that, she sentenced West to 100 months in prison.
West was originally charged with third-degree murder, but that count was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. The agreement also includes a guilty plea to a charge of attempted promotion of prostitution from a separate incident.
Rau's father, Jim Rau, submitted a letter that was read aloud by a victim's advocate. He described his son as an all-American lacrosse player and scholar who came to Minnesota from their home in New Jersey to seek addiction treatment.
Rau was sober for "a few years" before he started using drugs again, read the advocate from the letter.
"We are glad Mr. West is off the streets. But it doesn't bring Andrew back," Rau wrote.